KARNATAKA

Delay in track doubling work escalates cost by three times

Anil Kumar Sastry

The project cost revised from Rs. 126.69 cr. to Rs. 435.9 cr.

BANGALORE: Even as the slow pace of railway track doubling work between Bangalore and Mysore is testing the patience of regular commuters between the two cities, the delay in execution of work has escalated the cost by three times.

While the work has been completed between Bangalore and Ramanagara (45 km), the estimated cost of track doubling between Ramanagara and Mysore and electrification of lines between Kengeri and Mysore has been revised from Rs. 126.69 crore to Rs. 435.9 crore owing to the delay.

The delay is despite the State Government sharing two thirds of the total project cost under the Karnataka Rail Development Enterprise initiative and releasing adequate funds from time to time.

The budgetary allocation during 2009-10 for the project was Rs. 68.63 crore of which, State Government’s share was Rs. 44.39 crore. The Government has released Rs. 48.15 crore, Rs. 3.76 crore more than its share, sources said. Despite prompt release of funds, the work progress between Ramanagara and Mysore was just 15 per cent, the sources added.

Express trains take three hours and passenger trains take four hours to reach Mysore from Bangalore and a double track is expected to reduce the travel time by at least one hour.

Track doubling work is on between Ramanagara and Shettihalli (18 km) and Mysore and Nagenahalli. Sources in the Railways said tenders had been invited for the track doubling work between Shettihalli and Mandya (28 km) and the work may start in a month.

After allowing several deadlines for this project envisaged in 1993-94 to lapse, Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa has now fixed a new deadline of 2012.

He, however, said that speedy completion of work depended on how fast the State Government made available 120 hectares of land in Ramanagara and Mandya districts. “Without waiting for land, I have instructed my officials to take up bridge construction work to meet the deadline,” he added.

S. Vijayakumaran, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction), South Western Railway, said that there was no dearth of funds and material. “Farmers will not allow us to enter their land unless they are paid compensation. If land is made available, we can complete the project within three years,” he said.

Sources in the Government said that frequent transfer of the deputy commissioner of Mandya district was one of the reasons for the delay in land acquisition.

Regarding shifting of Tipu’s armoury, Mr. Vijayakumaran said SWR had been assigned the task, while the State Government stated that the work would be done by the Department of Museums.

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